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Concepts of Catastrophe Myths in Devastation Research

Disaster myth is one of the very most component in devastation research.

Disaster misconception is a substantial part of devastation research. It not only is made up of important characteristic of the field but also impacts other element in devastation research. It merits the interest of many researcher. To have a deep understanding of disaster myth, a broad view of catastrophe research should be taken into consideration.


The problem of devising a explanation or evaluating consensus on a definition plays an important role in not only theoretical but also empirical research. In Handbook of Devastation Research, Ronald W. Perry's What is a devastation is a prominent research in working with this problem. He argued that in regards to definition, he tried out to recount the initiatives to specify disasters by interpersonal scientist, rather than seeking a fresh definition. Within this newspaper, he clarified the situation of explanation by specifying its type, goal, and audience. To begin with, he set the kind of definition as a location of study, not really a concept, although these two dimension aren't clearly separable. Therefore the explanation that he suggested will treat concerns of paradigm and do so by determining critical features or characteristics of disaster (Perry, 2007) - which is grouped as real definition, appropriate to define a location of study. Since disaster will usually mean many things to many people, and the explanation will serve a variety of purposes - thus there will be many explanations (Perry, 2007). He narrowed the opportunity of classification by pursuing Quarantelli's research to describe the definition under sociable scientist's position. Hence, the important aspects need to be concerned when determining catastrophe research is the cultural context and tradition.

He divided catastrophe explanation research into 3 main areas: the foremost is the classical procedure, second is hazards-disaster traditions and the last is explicitly socially-focused custom. Inside the first part, with prominent consultant scholar as Fritz, who proposed a definition of catastrophe in 1961 and its impact has continued to be until recent time, the key characteristic of devastation definition is dealing with communal order disruption (Fritz's therapeutic community is a significant example) and the emergent norm thinking. The primary image of disaster in these research is negative outcomes. It was express on the definitions that were offered in the first three explanation published (by Wallace, Killian and Moore) and also the following empirical studies. Until recent time, there are still many scholar follow Fritz's premise, however they has added some variance to it. Through these studies, he claimed the advancement in classical methodology of explanation in contemporary catastrophe research. These research was motivated by Fritz's meaning, but they also focus more on the procedure, adaption and change in catastrophe, as a pattern of adjustment from the disruption of "non-routine event".

The second area of devastation research is captured from dangers point of view. As its name, despite the fact that they may be concern about public and other aspect, the primary focus continues to be the mark agent. With this perspective, disaster can be regarded as an extreme event that develops when a threat agent intersects with a sociable system ("the human use system") (Perry, 2007). Although this approach is cticized as paying too much focus on the environmental facet of disaster and neglecting or not presenting enough focus on communal aspect, it is still considered as an effort to define devastation and provide a fresh position to explore the field. The classic elaborations of this strategy is Burton, Kates and White. From the foundation of hazards-oriented studies, as yet, research way of hazards scholar slightly migrated from what might be looked at an "agent focused" approach to a greater give attention to vulnerability (Perry, 2007). The scholar started to add the cultural character as well as public consequences in their studies. They have gradually moved to vulnerability, the interpersonal side of research, in spite of hazard origins. As can be seen from the development of the approach, disaster research should be reviewed first at it social side. It led to the third approach: socially-focused procedure.

This third traditions see disasters as a communal phenomenon. This explanation has origins from classical strategy and it is developed as the changing emphasis of hazards address from agent focused toward vulnerability. This idea focuses mainly on social origin of devastation. Some scholar must be described is Barton, Quarantelli, and Dynes. They have posted their typology of devastation. For example Barton used his typology to handle the cross-classified proportions of range (national, local, segmental, local) by focus of time (Perry, 2007). He emphasized the concentration of the studies is on communal dimensions of situations, not the events themselves.

In Quarantellli's typology, catastrophe (1) are sudden-onset occasions, (2) significantly disrupt the regimens of collective models, (3) cause the adoption of unplanned lessons of action to modify to the disruption, (4) have unexpected life histories chosen in communal space and time, and (5) cause danger to valued social objects. This explanation has been followed by many scholar, as is seen from literature. Although it has root in classical period research, it offers added it significant features and developed much more further. Another approach to define catastrophe in socially-focuses course is give attention to cross-national or cross-cultural aspects. It emphasized the social framework of the definiton. In quick, these scholars see the definition in communal relations angle. The 2 2 things which make it different from classical period strategy are it characterizes disaster as a communal disruption that generated from social composition and may be remedied through sociable structural manipulations (Perry, 2007); and communal structure can be seen as interpersonal change "analytically frozen at one point in time" (Quarantellli, 2005a, p. 340).

By listing up the 3 main areas of disaster definition approaches, in the long run, author attempted to assess degrees of consensus between them. He emphasized on Quarantelli's paradigm of disaster research with two main ideas as follows: catastrophe are communal phenomena, and devastation is rooted in communal structure and reflects the procedures of social change. This paradigm again reiterates that event itself is not yet a tragedy, it have to based on social aspect. Furthermore, it lead to the vulnerability aspect. Beside this, another consensus is the magnitude of catastrophe shouldn't be assessed by the losses of people or property, but by the failure of the normative or cultural system. It also exhibited the consensus of issue of resilience. The consensus of social disruption and emergent norm thingking has still remained. Finally, work on defining devastation also give attention to its communal time and space rather than physical time and space.

Meanwhile, there's also disagreement about these meaning, as what varieties of characteristics should be included, the condition of taxonomy, and other issues. Within an efforts to solve the condition of categorizing, Quarantelli (2005a, p333) recognized disasters, catastrophes and crises. Boin, Stallings, and Rosenthal differentiated disasters and crises. As Quarantelli aruged, attention should be payed for classification systems. The taxonomy is the significant issue that researchers need to cope with in order to effectively analyze devastation phenomena.

In the finish of the newspaper, researcher proposed plan for future research. Here again he reminded reader of how important the role that explanation takes on in the field. You will find a lot of empirical work, but conceptualization still remains unsolved. Lacking of this important point, the field will be fulled of specific research but with out a systematic view. He also brought up the concern of taxonomy, as the classification systems still need to be reviewed carefully.

In conclusion, publisher has fully synthesized the development and various approach when defining disaster - a basic and central part of disaster research. By providing 3 main practices of research in catastrophe definition, the consensus in term of disaster's feature has been described thoroughly. Additionally, he also proposed the condition remains in the field, as further research should focus on conceptualization issue and classification systems. Only using this method that research can solve the condition of description, reach closer to the consensus in the field. This paper gave audience the insight in to the field, since they can find the broader view of devastation research.

The second newspaper we have to check out in order to have a standard view of disaster research may be the social science study of disasters and mass marketing communications compiled by E. L. Quarantelli (1987).

In this paper, the writer has summarized the prior reseaches on public disaster research to depict today's overall point out of knowledge. Therefore pointing out the concentration of research field, examined significant themes of studies through the number and research orientation of studies. He also synthesized the studies related to mass communication in catastrophe research and finally proposed just how for future research Quarantelli (1987). Plagiarism

As trying to provide a overall view of history and current research, he summarized the development of research field. Although first systematic sociable science disaster review has have you ever been undertaken was started from 1920, until the end of World War II that cultural and behavioral research of disasterous happenings started to have any continuity and started to accumulate a body of data (Quarantelli, 1987). He select it as a starting point to evaluate the pioneering initiatives of research. In those days, there have been 3 organizations that made great contribution to the establishment of important basis. It was National Thoughts and opinions Research Middle (NORC), Disaster research group (DRG) and Devastation Research Centre (DRC). Though there is just a little discrepancy between research object of the organizations, induced by their distinctions in research orientation. For example, NORC paid most attention to reactions of victims, while DRG centered more on group action.

Despite of that fact, their distributed the common feature at research entities that analyzed both natural and scientific disaster and the reseearchers were mainly sociologists. Additionally, beside the sufferer, transmitting of warnings meaning of potential devastation was also drawn attention from analysts, while little attention was paid to mass communication company, both from theoretical and empirical studies. When executing the research about warning note transmssion of advertising, caution process was the key purpose, not the procedure of mass communication. The author emphasized on the unequal coverage of research, since it paid very little attention on institutional area. The reason why provided for this kinhd of dispropotionate research were the challenge of methodology because it is hard to use audiences quantitative method towards mass communication systems and the financing agencies.

Another dominant feature of research at the pioneer studies was they didn't realize the "dual role" that mass communication takes on in disasters. They just centered on the reporter role, furthermore, emphasized on the hesitation of its validity when confirming disasters, known as catastrophe mythology. By doing this, they neglected another role that mass communication performs - the role of major organizational celebrities in finding your way through and responding to disasters.

Depart from the pioneering efforts, after 1960s, it proclaimed a next stage of disaster research. It has been a impressive development of both amount and range of research in equate to the earlier period. The writer highlight some major topics within research results and observation to synthesize the knowlege gained by communal science experts in term of specific and teams' action that media reports in emergency time. Therefore, directing out the part remains little or unexplored, to suggest tips for even more research. A couple of two main styles, covers specific and organiztional tendencies. Individual actions are referred to as displaying the strong ability to adjust to extreme situation of survivor, their actively behavior in rescure initiatives, their stable mental health, their choice whenever choosing good friend, family's place rather than general public shelters. Scholars (Fritz, Barton, Dynes, Drabek, Quarantelli and Kreps) concluded that patients absolutely have ability to offer well with catastrophe. There's a high consensus these behaviors are very different from what media report about sufferer during emergency time. The image of victim behaviors depicted by advertising is panic, passive, go crazy, lose control, looking for public help. The discrepancy between fact and media report and audience belief is characterized as the "myths" of disasters (Quarantellli and Dynes, 1972).

The second theme is also related to disaster common myths, it is explanation of organizational action in catastrophe time. As conveyed from media report, organizational patterns can be seen as effective, almost essential, there is a strong focus on the critical role it plays in disaster situation. However, the genuine patterns of organizations that was analyzed by the analysts shows a sharpened contrast. In reality, orginizational habit is ineffective, and have even negative impact in save process, as weakened ability of taking care of effort and poor decisions created by open public and private bureaucracies (Quarantelli, 1985a). In short, these two research topics of specific and organizational behavior which relate with disaster myths show the discrepancy between actual behavior and image conveyed by media report. Hence, mass media is in charge of not framing the phony image of action in emergency time. In looking for explanation, some experts have explained that media personnel tend to take a "command post" view of catastrophe (Quarantelli, 1987).

Through looking closer to a series of specific studies, the author reiterated the limited amount of researches about mass communication in devastation research. Although research in Japan, French have a just a little higher give attention to mass communication, in comparison to research in British langague, the number of research regard to mass communication remains small. He also stated some unexplored questions and research areas, such as research relates to operation of naitonal systems in disaster, functioning of cable system, disaster-relevant aspects of magazine productions (Quarantelli, 1987). The disproportion of concentrate between print multimedia and electronic advertising is also a problem need to be examined. After list the precise studies, he figured there is a prominent upsurge in amount of empricial research on mass marketing communications and theoretical formualtions work in term of mass media functions in the registered. The researcher also proposed the factors that contributes to this acceleration.

(Perry, 2007)


Perry, R. W. (2007). Exactly what is a catastrophe? Handbook of catastrophe research (pp. 1-15): Springer.

Quarantelli, E. L. (1987). The social science study of disasters and mass marketing communications.

Quarantelli, E. L. (2005a). A cultural science research agenda for the disasters of the 21st century. In R. W. Perry & E. L. Quarantelli (Eds. ), What is a devastation? New answers to old questions(pp. 325-396). Philadelphia: Xlibris.

Quarantelli, E. L. and Russell Dynes (1972) When devastation strikes. Mindset Today 5: 66-70.

Quarantelli, E. L (1985a) An diagnosis of conflicting views on mental health; in C. Figley (ed) Trauma and its own wake (pp. 173-215). NY: Brunner Mazel.

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